tv Cross Talk RT January 10, 2014 2:29am-3:01am EST
to cross-talk iraqi afghan legacies i'm joined by my guest richard murphy in new york he is the former u.s. career ambassador to syria and currently an adjunct scholar at the middle east institute also in new york we have don de bar he is an anti-war activist and host of a daily radio program and in washington we cross to peter van buren he is a veteran of the u.s. state department who served in iraq and he's also author of we meant well how i helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the iraqi people gentlemen cross-talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it peter if i go to you first in washington the blame game is raging again who lost iraq who lost afghanistan mr gates is a. memoir of his time in office is really getting a lot of people upset and probably rightfully so from a if you're in the white house i mean and we have to look at what's going on in iraq now what obligation does the united states have to reintroduce itself in a greater military way not with troops not boots on the ground but what obligation
does the united states have to save the molecule government well the answer is none and not that anything could actually help the united states state spent nine years applying hellfire missiles and drones and automation and attacks of all sorts of kinds and none of that worked it is the definition of of mental illness to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results introducing weapons into iraq at this time from the united states will likely have as much success this time as it did the last time ok richard if i can go to you in new york i mean this is kind of deja vu all over again do you do the same thing again we try these united states and its western allies try to stabilize a regime that it actually installed in the first place. it was elected. it has behaved incompetently in terms of reaching out as
a majority shia government to these sudanese over iraq and it's paying. a heavy price for that it is repeating mistakes that we made ourselves during the occupation but we have an obligation you know so i think so an obligation to. those that don't are for the investments we've made and for the far greater number of iraqis that to try to help and i think the administration with a very limited military supplies is trying to do something but more importantly trying to counsel the maliki government for god's sakes work for a pluralistic government and reach out to the sunnies ok don i mean i've never seen the molokai government i would describe it as jeffersonian in any sense ok it is it's really terrorizes that the sunni mind your minority there it terrorizes them and it's really quite amazing i mean we have to remind our viewers here there was no al qaeda in iraq before the invasion and now they have i mean come on i mean
what is the learning curve here or is there anyone anywhere learning curve at all. well it depends on who's learning what. first of all in terms of obligations by by the united states to the iraqi people if we could we should go back to the fifty's and undo the damage that was done to the developing iraq but the society then when we manipulated events so that the bath is ended up in power because they were afraid communists of socialist would end up in power so you had with the ba'ath this trend over time still the development of a civil society secular society a material base for you know a decent economy and then the united states decided to involve iraq in its project to undo the iranian revolution and so it had iraq go to war with iran and the iraqi people suffered there again when that was over they weren't satisfied there was
a fabrication of babies being murdered in a nursery and a bunch of other things and apparently saddam hussein exerted more influence than washington had ceded to him in you know any kind of a grant occupied kuwait and that became a reason to go to war again then there was the period under clinton with the iraq economy was made to scream in a way that would drown out the screams of chalet under u.n. day and following that was nine years of outright bombing kicked off with shock and a lot here and it doesn't mention posed whether they were elected or not on the recondition of occupation through all of it there is an urge like there would be in any society for a expression of national liberation and under why and all of the activity there with all of the distortions of the result of meddling and outright murder by the
united states is this spirit seeking sovereignty self-determination dignity it's sad or all right i'm going to. done don but it's and it is interesting that your hands off it for as you mentioned some good words later self has closed when we do for you kate when you mention some good words there like sovereignty for example peter if i can go to you we heard some very interesting words like sovereignty from dan here but the interesting fact is that washington wants to come in and help iraq now this is a country that's far more aligned with the interests of taran in the middle east here i mean after everything that has been done is that in the interest of the united states i would go get me wrong i'd like to see better relations between to read in washington go ahead. this is an example of of the false hoods of the expediency that expediency that the united states maintains in the middle east there is a line in the sand out there drawn by the british that separates syria from western iraq on one side of the line the united states supports sunni fighters because
they're fighting shias paths in syria but you step over the line into western iraq and bar province and suddenly the united states is supporting shias who are fighting sunni's the fact that tehran is a long time patron of maleki with apologies to the ambassador in two thousand and ten the election results favored another candidate it was the united states that sat aside with no credibility whatsoever while toran stepped in and brokered a deal for molokai to take over the reins of power the expedient processes that the united states continues to try to use in the middle east always always come back to hurt us and while i to support stronger relations with tehran supporting she is versus sunni's on one side of the line and the opposite on the other side of the line certainly will not work out in the long run and certainly does not add up to america's credibility in the greater middle east ok richard in new york which i reflect upon that i mean it's morning different signs in different countries and
it's the same conflict it's extremely complex and it doesn't it certainly doesn't look like it's working just to be. clear in understanding peter did you say peter that we were supporting shia in syria. we're supporting a range of fighters in syria that are loosely considered sunni and i certainly understand that we're using these terms sunni and shia very broadly there are sub divisions within each very large. i think it's quite valuable the idea of. fighting against assad in syria is acceptable fighting against the shias in iraq is unacceptable this kind of where we believe we don't think you're alright alright alright alright i peter you made your point richard in new york please weigh in go ahead. i don't think we are interested in supporting in syria
we're looking for this elusive group the move the moderate sonu of the moderate shia and hoping that they will find a common ground and present a coherent political platform to get down to talks with the leadership of bashar al assad in syria where we're not interested at all in advancing the interests of al qaida and this is the good news is that apparently the islamicists. in syria are very divided. and increasingly hostile to all of it. as represented by the islamic state of syria and iraq ok don i'd like to go back to you in new york i meant that the interesting fact here is that you know irrespective of what opposition group you want to support or any loose of moderate group that i don't think even exists there anymore it's still the united states and its allies that want to see the end of
a secular regime in damascus i mean that's adds to the riddle to all of this supporting of different groups in different countries. well that goes back to the beginning of the project in ny in the late one nine hundred seventy s. in afghanistan you had a secular marxist government that was being destabilized by people who lived in the country who own the land you know in the in the rural parts the one land they were looking at having their property handed over to the peasants and you had a secular state in the cities you know because it's a marxist state where the religious types who were not the center of political gravity or of cultural gravity there were being excited by the cia they created the mujahideen groups that were there to firstly stabilize it forced the u.s.s.r. against its wishes by the way they were invited in by the government because they were being the governor was being taken down by these groups then but they wanted
to punish this was the words of the n.s.a. director at the time as big brzezinski they wanted to punish the u.s.s.r. for vietnam and make them bleed and that's what happened in these groups that's the genesis of these groups and that policy is a policy that's been used throughout the region and elsewhere by the united states consciously i think you learned a lot you know i mean i'm going to jump in here gentlemen we're going to go to a short break and after that show break we'll continue our discussion on iraq and afghanistan state with our team.
similarly sixteen percent of imports came from illegal fishing. and the european union is ironically taking fish from some of the poorest nations on earth so this is a very serious and very urgent problem that needs immediate international action. to enter our territorial waters they fish they load the fish on to the ships and leave for europe. illegal fishing just taking the bread out of our mouths. he survived war atrocities. to make a psychologist so she. has changed his life and the world around him. by giving up. hope.
talks a lot about the rule of law but it seems like the deal he really wants with the americans about remaining so keeping some troops there it's all about how much he's going to get paid it's all about mr karzai isn't it. well he's. certainly no no virtuous figure when it comes to straightforward government in our sense of the word that there has been a major corruption problem and it's something that the karzai leadership has done nothing about as far as i can tell so. no we are leaving the the military is going to come out with the exception of a few thousand troops if those arrangements can be worked out and the. has the government or has the structure of afghan society changed because of our
intervention during this past decade i think we have done some useful things in supporting the rights of women. its people left school is that really america's business to intervene in that in that sphere well that's that's an issue that we've stood proudly by over the over the decades. yeah but richard i mean it's afghanistan on the whole on the whole on the whole a better place after all of this or is it more or less the same if not worse in a way. well one mistake we made was not listening to. the soviet predecessors as to what had gone wrong when they sat in afghanistan and i think one of their officials became this the russian ambassador to afghanistan saying hey guys we made a mess of it you better watch out and we didn't watch out we we got in deeper and
deeper now we're getting out are we leaving anything better behind well if can to stand has been the graveyard of imperial adventures over the centuries and have to say it's a very dubious proposition that we have greatly improved the situation ok peter if i can go to you in washington you know i was in afghanistan last year before last and you know what i'll tell you something the only thing i saw standing in kabul that actually works out beyond a brand new mosque that's in the center of the city is a lot of soviet architects are still standing there i've seen nothing that the americans made except for their their compound for nato ok which i was in and it's vast it's like being in a huge aircraft carrier and you know what you don't feel like you're in kabul which goes back to mr karzai i think he just plays the united states for a fool because he's all talking about his retirement how much money he's going to be able to suck out with his brothers and his family absolutely i know he's buying
real estate in dubai i hear ok i mean this is a guy that's playing the west i mean like a fool go ahead i hear this echo in washington and it keeps saying vietnam vietnam the united states has this false view of the world as a chessboard where we can move pieces around and give them funny names like our man in. our good sunni's in here our bad shias over there and that we can move these pieces around the chess board and cost things to. happen karzai is a perfect example the last so-called election that put him into power was deeply contested the united states allowed that to go through karzai laughs with us as he takes our money but we seem to keep giving him our money in hopes that maybe something different will happen afghanistan i'm afraid will end up the same as iraq
the same as vietnam a place where we've expended thirteen years worth of human lives of american afghanis trillions of dollars that are desperately needed here in the united states and the result will be a society as chaotic as what was there before our arrival if not more sympathetic to its neighbors all against the interests of the united states it's very difficult to say anything positive about the situation it's a very cynical view to claim that anything good has really been done particularly in comparison to the costs ok don if i go back to you in new york i mean what is the united states get out of making some kind of deal with karzai i mean you know you can call it cut and run but just leave i mean you know you have to a doctors are supposed to help you know if they're not supposed to make things worse and it seems to me and night and i would eyewitness that i saw it myself all i saw was a country that was under siege it was all about three things security security and
security. if the us wasn't using afghanistan as a geo political pawn in the late seventy's and through a good part of the eighty's probably there would be a very healthy economy the secular state and quite a few people still alive and families still intact that are gone that were murdered over the last thirty years especially us arms makers have made lots of money their. people have been signing contracts to do on oil pipelines in of course heroin has been flowing from afghanistan since the us troops went back there at the beginning you know shortly after two thousand and one and that's an interesting thing to look at by the way because there peter mentioned vietnam during the vietnam war there was heroin all over the streets in the united states during these central american wars the contra war and all of that there was cocaine
all over the united states streets and now again this heroin all over the streets and so there is there was also a war being conducted against the american people that's taken place partly you know with the same troops that we're using to conduct war on behalf of whatever u.s. interests are there for the last one i want to make is this the real game that gets played is that whatever state structures are or is to mentalities of sovereignty and self-determination exist in each of these places that the u.s. goes into afghanistan iraq syria libya wherever the goal seems to be because what happens is they destroy those they leave the populace in chaos the infrastructure in shambles and whatever the the resources are that they want they managed to get those out just fine and you have to have a hard time believing that this is all an accident it's a very successful. project that they've been on and it's
a pretty bright one all right richard please jump in in new york i mean i guess one way what don was saying we're getting legacies giving legacies go ahead richard. well let's not forget that the reason we went in in the first place was to get hold of. al qaida leadership to destroy that as a movement now we missed on both accounts but we have succeeded in the year when they're far from true. the the affiliates around the around in africa they're around in the middle east in syria etc but the goal was to get rid of them and we could not convince that then taliban authorities to hand them over that was against their they saw as against their interest in their tradition the little richard. richard don't you think now the united states if it wants a semblance of a anything that we can even agree with on the word normality should in the united
states the negotiate with the taliban directly to have an exit where the country is still saw i fell together go ahead i think i think that's coming. karzai has been very irritated and paranoic if you will about reports that have been some efforts to advance a better understanding between washington and the taliban now that's got to come ok peter in washington i'm calling this program legacies here what is the legacy of american occupation in an invasion of these countries you know twelve years on now for both and in context of what's going on in the middle east today. it's a very sad legacy it's very very difficult to point to anything even remotely positive that came out of this from any perspective from a humanitarian perspective it's a disaster the number of people on all sides that have been killed in both places certainly from the perspective of draining the american economy this is been
a tremendous mess and has crippled us but more importantly even if you take the strictest geo political interpretation the economy be damned the loss of human life be damned we haven't even gotten anything positive out of that to continue the same strategy that failed so successfully in iraq afghanistan into imported into libya watch that descend into chaos to imported into syria watch for that to send into chaos you take a look around the middle east in your very very hard put to pick out a country or an area where things are even marginally better than they were on september tenth two thousand and one it's time to stop it's time to reassess what america's interests in the middle east actually are and that's a good argument of its own and then try to figure out a new strategy that may support or advance those interests look there's there's old
story about the difference between a colony american policy in the middle east and the answer is after thirteen years you stop milking the col ok don in light of what robert gates has written here i mean are you surprised about the blame game because it seems to have nothing to do with the people on the ground in afghanistan in iraq now it's people in washington trying to save their reputation and legacy go ahead. yeah absolutely it's that and it's also politicking for the congressional elections this year and positioning for twenty sixteen. i think really what's important is to look at what actual american policy is and what its implications are for the people of the wreck to do we have a pretty good idea how things have turned out in afghanistan and in iraq and in pockets done by the way that got dragged in libya how things are going in syria egypt etc ok but if you take a walk actually that whole program has been spreading with africa across the
african continent we see the same dynamics taking place in maybe a half dozen african countries already people are being murdered there's discord there's sectionalism and there's all kinds of fighting around that with the huge resources that exist right gentlemen i have to jump in here i guess we could make another program called what's the learning curve many thanks to my guests today in washington and in new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us. remember.
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on our reporters twitter. and instagram. to be in the know. on. iraq is clearly again falling back into extreme civil strife washington says it wants to help but most iraqis appear wary of any more american assistance then there is afghanistan washington plans to finally leave this year the sad reality for all involved is the fact that washington may never be able to leave.
leadership approval ratings hit record lows in european nations who are struggling . and those who are in. a war within the most radical and. syria's rebel movement is accused of dozens of moderate opposition. and international space station. to keep up. missions and guard against possible asteroid threats. gathering to discuss these very issues.